Euthanasia debate: 'Those in pain shouldn't have to die like a dog because of ego and conceit of others' stuff nation

The the right to die with dignity must always remain with the individual, writes John Sargeant.

The the right to die with dignity must always remain with the individual, writes John Sargeant.

OPINION: Family First spokesperson Bob McCoskrie was recently reported as drawing no separation between euthanasia and suicide due to mental illness.

Refusing to accept the notion that euthanasia is actually "death with dignity", he has labelled it as an "objectionable and dangerous topic".

McCoskrie's view is offensive to many who have watched a loved one die a slow and anguished death and clearly he is out of touch with the realities of the pain and suffering to the individual with terminal illness.

You only have to look at the case of Lecretia Seales, a bright, intelligent lawyer who recently passed after insufferable and incurable pain.

* Why Right to Life opposes euthanasia
* Bob McCoskrie: We don't need euthanasia
* Lecretia Seales did not have right to die, High Court rules
* Lecretia Seales lives on in a health inquiry into euthanasia
* Euthanasia gaining momentum internationally but not in NZ


She fought for the right to die with dignity on her own terms but alas, her condition made it impossible for her to continue her legal struggle.

Not everybody has her skills which is why her case was so important.

Just why McCoskrie and those who think like him believe they have the right to make those in similar circumstances as Seals have to tolerate unbearable pain is beyond me.

It's nothing short of egotistical and conceited when good people are forced to die like a dog in a ditch just because of the beliefs of others.

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I acknowledge that those who provide hospice care do a wonderful job for those who need it but for many with terminal illness life shouldn't get to the stage where that's necessary.

As our population ages, we are all starting to lose friends and relatives and to have to watch them go through torment we wouldn't let an animal go through is wrong.

The law forces this situation on us and it needs to change to show support for those facing a certain and painful death.

Of course there needs to be legal safeguards to protect people from those who would seek to profit from such a death and the decision must be made by the person themselves while they are compos mentis; the same as a final will, but with these in place, the right to die should be made available when the tolerable become the intolerable and the bearable become the unbearable.

It needs to be a decision made similar to becoming an organ donor, for example, and totally retractable.

After all, there are "no atheists in a foxhole" but the right to die with dignity must always remain with the individual.

Their life, their death, their decision.

John Sargeant is a regular column writer for the Taranaki community newspapers.

 - Stuff

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